NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg began a two-day visit to New Zealand on Monday (5 August 2019) with stops in Christchurch and Wellington.
In Christchurch, Mr. Stoltenberg met with mayor Lianne Dalziel and first responders involved in stopping the March 2019 mosque attacks. He then visited the Al Noor mosque, where he laid a floral tribute in memory of the victims, and met with members of the Muslim community. The Secretary General expressed his solidarity and deepest condolences, recalling his own experience as Prime Minister of Norway during the terrorist attack in 2011.
Later in the day, Mr. Stoltenberg spoke to students and academics at the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. The Secretary General explained that today’s security challenges require joint efforts and deep partnerships to overcome. He pointed to the rise of great power competition, the threat of international terrorism, and challenges emanating from cyberspace as three areas where NATO and New Zealand are stronger and safer when they respond together.
On Tuesday, Mr. Stoltenberg will meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters, Defence Minister Ron Mark, and other senior officials. He will also lay a wreath at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park before departing for an official visit to Australia.